Free Book Reminder – Through 3/31!

Just a little reminder that my book,  An Unexpected Turn, is free through the 31st in celebration of it’s one year anniversary! Even if this isn’t your type of book, please pass it along to someone you know that might be interested. As always, any reviews you feel like leaving are very, very much appreciated!

Open Windows & Peachy Daffodil

It is an absolutely beautiful day today and I get to open my windows for the first time this year. I also managed to get an okay shot of my peach daffodil, though it is really windy, so it isn’t great. It’s good enough for you to see how different it is from the traditional cup center you often see with daffodils.

Peach and White Daffodil
Peach and White Daffodil

This might technically be a double because of the multi layered petals. It sort of reminds me of my dwarf daylilies.

If the day continues to be this gorgeous, I might have to try and take a walk. When I was outside getting these photos, it seemed like everyone that lives here and then some were out doing just that, so I’ll have to see.

I’m hoping for an equally pretty sunset. I’d figured out a perfect place to try and get some amazing shots a while ago, but haven’t had the opportunity to get out and test it out, either because of weather or timing. I might just be able to pull it off if the sky decides to cooperate with me.

Yellow And White Daffodil

This is one of the daffodil’s that looks a little unusual. It doesn’t have that cup like center shape, but looks more like layered petals instead. I really wish I remembered what I picked out when I bought these or had a photo to reference because I really don’t remember these being so different. My other one is kind of similar, but with slightly different colors.

One Year Book Anniversary: An Unexpected Turn – Free Offering

One year ago, I clicked the publish button on my book, An Unexpected Turn. To celebrate, I’m offering up the Kindle version for free from 3/27 through 3/31.

Considering I never even planned to write a book in the first place, seeing that I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of it’s release, is kind of mind blowing. If you enjoy emotional stories about found families, feel free to grab this while it lasts. If that’s not your thing, then please pass it along to someone that might enjoy it as a way to help me celebrate this shocking milestone.

 

Blurb:

“When I take a good look at my reflection, I’m surprised that the face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look different than the one I’ve seen staring back at me for the last 27 years. I see the same brown hair and brown eyes, the same heart-shaped face, the same upturned nose. I feel like I should look different. That my face should show the upheaval and the weight of the last day, that it should somehow show how much has happened, how the course of my life has changed, but everything is still the same.”

Life is rarely ever predictable. It is rarely even kind. But… sometimes… just sometimes, those unexpected turns that throw you into the chaos and upheaval of loss lead you to the exact place you need to be.

This is a story about love, but it isn’t a romance. It is about holding on when it would be easier to let go, about fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. It is about finding and creating family through the unpredictable, beautiful mess that is life.

Daffodils And A Bear Hunt

I finally have some daffodils blooming. At the moment, I have three different ones, but I think I have a couple more that are trying to pop as well. This one looks to be the most traditional looking one so far. The other two are very different. I’ll try to get some photos later today of those if the sun would ever decide to come out.

There are all kinds of stories going around about various different neighborhoods, groups, or individuals doing things to help entertain their neighbors right now. One of the things that I’d seen was directed more towards little kids. They were calling it a bear hunt. Residents would put some sort of bear (stuffed or other) in a window where it could be seen from the outside. When the kids would go for a walk, they could hunt for the bears in the windows.

My neighborhood decided to do one as we have a lot of grade school age kids that live around here. I’m a huge bear fan and Hubby has gotten me a few really fun ones over the years, so I decided to share the one that would be most easily seen. My giant one. He kind of takes up the whole window (not that is is a huge window).

Bear Hunt - Bear In The Window
Bear Hunt – Bear In The Window

It was just a really simple thing to do and the little kids can have a fun activity that doesn’t require any interaction with other people. I thought it was cute and fun. Now I have a bear hanging out in my window waving at anyone that walks by.

I will say, it is a bit disturbing to see it up there at night. I guess older teenagers and adults can play along and find a way to give it a creepy feel as it looks a little deranged staring out at you in the dark.

 

Just Almost

This one has been sitting at almost open for days. I’m getting impatient. Same goes for my daffodils, though I think at least one might be open today. Sadly it is foggy and misty and on the nasty side, so I’m not sure I’ll get any pictures today.

At some point this week, I WILL get downstairs and finish up my PMC charm I’ve been working on. It seems that lately, before I even have time to think about getting to work on it, 10 other things pop up that I need to do instead. Hopefully the majority of those side things that I didn’t really plan are out of the way. Hopefully.

Magenta Hyacinth

Some of my earliest hyacinths are starting to look a little sad while I have one that is just starting. I realized today that I have so many colors of these now. A white one, two different purples, a pale pink, this kind of striped magenta and a solid magenta (that one never seems to photograph well). I have no idea what color the one that is still in deep bud phase is, but I think it might be another white.

My daffodils are just starting to open, but haven’t gotten all the way yet. I’ll probably have another day or two to share the hyacinths before I can get a good full shot of any of the daffodils. I really don’t remember what colors I got last fall, so that will be a fun surprise!

I’m going to be an absolute slug today because EVERYTHING hurts after having crawled around on my hands and knees working on that floor yesterday. I love it when my body reminds me that I’m really an out of shape old lady and not some young thing. BG had to make a point of telling me that she feels just fine today. The little shit!

Makeshift Dance Floor Project

Absolutely amazed at how impressive this turned out. Seriously didn’t quite expect it to look this good. And.. it was relatively cheap to do!

I used the most inexpensive wood laminate flooring I could find for the surface. Normally, if you were actually installing this as a permanent floor, you would use an underlay material. Since this wasn’t intended to be permanent, my only concern was making sure the flooring didn’t slide or attempt to separate, so I found some, also inexpensive, rug gripper mats to put underneath the flooring. I ended up using 2 different pieces to get to the size I needed, but it works.

Gripper Mats for Floor Base
Gripper Mats for Floor Base

Also because this wasn’t intended to be permanent, I didn’t need to worry about any cutting. Just put the pieces together and done.

Start of Dance Floor Project - First Rows
Start of Dance Floor Project – First Rows

The first couple of rows were an absolute bitch to get together. BG helped as she had already finished up all her school work for the day and we did some trial and error on the best way to get this going before we got into a rhythm. Once we figured out the basic trick, the rest of the project flew together in no time.

Dance Floor Project - Half Way Done
Dance Floor Project – Half Way Done

I went down around 12:30ish to get the floor cleaned up and mopped then had to wait for a little bit for it to dry before I could get started. I finished up around 2:45. That is how easy this was.

Wood Laminate Dance Floor Area
Wood Laminate Dance Floor Area

The really cool thing about this? As long as the edges don’t sustain too much damage, I will be able to take this apart when she no longer needs it and put it together in my craft area so I have an even nicer space to work in than I do now. I even have another box of flooring that didn’t get opened that I can use to cover more area.

As with any construction type of project, it cannot be done without at least a little injury. FYI… don’t be leaning on a seam when you knock it together. It really doesn’t feel all that great. (Skip the following image if you are even a little bit squeamish as blood blister pinches aren’t very pretty) Of course it is on my forearm in the area that I normally lean on and keeps hitting on every single damn thing this afternoon. Oh, well. Project done and it is a HUGE success! I’m a happy momma today.

Construction Injury - Blood Blister Pinch Area
Construction Injury – Blood Blister Pinch Area

So Many Changes

Today is our first day of a completely new normal.

Over the weekend, our mayor put our city on a shelter-in-place order, so all non-essential business are shut down. We were already pretty much treating it like that, so it won’t be a massive change for us, though I’ve heard/seen a lot of people complaining or stressing over this order. For us, we are just going to keep doing what we have been and doing our best to not be a part of the problem.

The kids are starting to learn their new routines for their online classes. It is going to be interesting for my kids as they are both so self motivated, they will probably have the week’s worth of assignments done by the first day of the week, depending on how the teacher posts assignments. It is going to be an interesting process for them. I joked with BG that with the online stuff she could get the rest of her high school finished before MC graduates and they could graduate together (not that that is an option, just a statement about how quickly she gets her stuff done).

We also got more information from BG’s dance studio. They have opted to do what they could to shift their classes to online. I’ve got to say, with what I’ve seen so far, I’m absolutely blown away with what they’ve managed to put together. I’ve always liked her studio and how they do things, but this goes so far above and beyond. They could have just as easily said we are just shutting down, but to keep these kids going and to ensure that all the staff at the studio still gets paid, they are doing everything they can to make sure that the “show must go on” while keeping everyone safe at the same time. I’m a little in awe at their dedication and determination.

As part of that, I’ll be working on getting BG a safe space to dance. It is something that I promised her a while ago since trying to dance on our concrete floor in the basement is too slick. She has come close to falling a couple of times in the past. Now, I get to build a makeshift dance floor. I have all the stuff, I just need to get it done, so that is on my project list for today. I’m hoping like crazy that it works like I think it will.

I should have some daffodils to photograph soon. The buds are on and getting bigger, but they aren’t quite open yet. My hyacinths managed to hold on through two freezes over the weekend. We absolutely need some color and beauty right now.

 

Hyacinths In Bloom

According to the calendar and BG, who informed me while flying down the stairs and out the door to change my sign, that yesterday was the first day of spring. It was a beautiful, sunny 75 degrees.

Today? It is 30 and potentially sat below freezing long enough to have done damage to my newly out flowers, so I have no clue how many pretty photos of these I’ll have to share. At least today is still sunny.

Amazon Deprioritizes Books

In an effort to ensure it prioritizes much needed products, Amazon has shuffled items not in those priority categories down the list when it comes to shipping. Among those getting dropped to a lower importance level are books.

I have seen a lot of talk about how the current situation is impacting families with regards to work. Many authors are already struggling, but this move will make it even harder for some, especially indie authors if the print versions of their books are not being shipped or shipments are delayed as they do not get credited for a print book sale until it ships.

Please keep this in mind when you are looking for reading material and consider supporting authors by purchasing their ebooks, audio books, or even reading via Kindle Unlimited as they still get paid for those without the shipping delay.

Other options for helping to support authors during this time is to order their books (when available) through independent book stores. Many of those stores are also being heavily impacted by local mandates and struggling as well. Going this route helps both the author and the bookstore.

This is just a tiny point in such a huge upheaval, but every bit may help. Feel free to pass this along to whatever book lovers you may know.

Constantly Changing

This time yesterday, our city had only implemented a ban on certain size gatherings with our state having followed not far behind with the same as a suggestion. Within a few hours, that gathering size number had reduced for our city. A few hours later, our city mayor closed schools, restaurants, theaters, and bars and put in place a ban on gatherings larger than 10. The mayor. Our county and state government has not.

Have I mentioned that our city doesn’t have a single confirmed case? There are a few in surrounding counties, so a part of the metro area, but not our city itself. Some of those surrounding counties are following our mayor’s lead. Other cities in our state do have cases, yet they aren’t implementing these measures and our governor isn’t doing anything other than suggesting the earlier limit on gathering sizes (that does not include businesses or schools). A suggestion, not a ban.

I’m thrilled our mayor is being so aggressively proactive. His stance forced our kids’ school to move to an online program after spring break because of the closure even though the district itself isn’t in the city, but part of a cooperative of districts in the area.

We got word this morning that Hubby’s work is moving to a work from home model for all employees that are capable of doing so. Even BG’s dance studio is implementing classes via a video app so they can learn the remainder of their routines. While there is still a very real chance that the recital will end up canceled or, at the very least, postponed, the kids will be ready to go however this pans out.

I am just extremely relieved all the way around. It all looks very different, but life is still going on. I will be utterly heartbroken if recital and MC’s graduation end up canceled, but I would much rather see those things canceled if it means we are flattening the curve and if it keeps anyone from being put at risk.

Beginning To Open

These aren’t quite open, though they are getting so close. I have a couple that are still deep into the new bud phase that will take even longer. It is kind of nice as it will keep something blooming in that front bed for a while.

I got confirmation that the prom that MC was still hoping to go to is getting canceled or postponed and I’m relieved. I hate that he is disappointed, but I’m also glad that this is settled. I can do what I’ve known for a while is the right thing without a lot of extra stress.

Hubby and I have been talking also about whether he is going to choose to work from home after he goes back to work. He had taken the first few days of the kids’ spring break off so we could spend time together as a family. After a few things that happened last week that bothered me, I’m really concerned about him going back into the office.

My concern is that I may be at a higher risk than your average healthy person because of my winter bronchitis. I’m still coughing, so the concept that he could be exposed and bring that home with him is frightening, especially if you have spent any time at all reading some of the stories. I know that I’m nowhere near at risk as some, but I’m still worried.

As of right now, our state hasn’t closed schools, something that I’m really pissed off about. Granted, most of our state is on spring break, but again, this is about a massive lack of leadership from those in the position to make those decisions and their unwillingness to actually take proactive measures to ensure the well being of others.

Talk about one nasty mixed bag of emotions going on right now.

Book Review: Bounty, Kaliya Sahni – Book #1

Author: Kristen Banet
Book Name: Bounty
Release Date: March 14, 2020
Series: Kaliya Sahni
Order: #1
Genre: Urban/Fantasy
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
4 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Kaliya Sahni.
Tribunal Executioner. Bounty hunter. The last nagini.

Her reputation is larger than the desert she lives in.

Dangerous. Irresponsible. Antagonistic.

When a friend asks her to look into a supernatural bounty on a human, Kaliya finds herself taking the first steps into a conspiracy that had been in the shadows for nearly a decade. Too intrigued to get out before it’s too late, she dives straight into the deep end, ready to discover the truth.

When the mysterious bounty takes a personal turn, she knows there’s no turning back, no putting the lid back on the box.

It’s all or nothing in her world and Kaliya doesn’t like to lose.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 4/5 Stars
Uniqueness Factor: 4/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 4/5 Stars

This is set in the same world as the Jacky Leon series but can be read on it’s own. Like that series, you get many of your typical fantasy types of beings, vampires, werewolves, witches and fae, but you also get a good dose of something not typical. In this case, Kaliya’s character is a Naga. I really like that this is somewhat typical, but also with that extra twist. Kaliya isn’t the only unusual character, either.

While the base story line of this gets a clean wrap up, it also brings in a lot of other pieces that don’t get wrapped up, clearly indicating that those will be ongoing pieces to this series. There wasn’t anything hanging so hard that I’d consider it a cliffhanger, but you don’t get the satisfaction of resolving everything in this book.

This will definitely be a series I’ll be watching for the next release on.

 

 

 

Rain Kissed Crocus

It is cold and rainy today, which made for some phenomenal photos, even if it is more crocus. I would have gotten more, but it was actually still misting and I really wasn’t in the mood to get drenched, so I only got a handful. I WILL have some hyacinths for you soon as they are almost open.

As I’m sure many of you are in a similar situation, my state declared a state of emergency. This is a full day after my city did so on its own, without any guidance from further up the government chain. Sadly, my city is doing a better job of actually trying to make a difference in banning certain number of gatherings (though still probably not enough), whereas my state has only made the declaration to free up funding. They have not imposed any restrictions or canceled schools, leaving it up to local heath departments.

Honestly, I’m frustrated by the whole thing. The people at the top that should be guiding the rest of this country in best practices aren’t doing squat, leaving it to those downhill to clean up the mess, but the people downhill aren’t doing any better.

I do my damnedest to keep anything political off my blog, but this is just too much. Where I live, there are no cases in the immediate area, but a few on some of the outer lying areas with more popping up every day. We are in a perfect position to stop or at least slow down this spread, at least in our area, but the people that should be making the decisions to close down schools or other major centers that are basically petri dishes are passing the buck to someone else.

The kids’ school has a plan in place to go online after spring break, but they aren’t making the decision themselves, waiting for someone to tell them they have to. I get that they may not actually have the authority to make those kinds of decisions at the district level, but someone should be stepping up and making the responsible decision.

I really try not to jump into the panic and hysteria, but this isn’t something that people are going to be able to fix or even improve on at an individual level and those that are at high risk shouldn’t be considered disposable because no one wants to step up and make the probably unpopular move to say we should shut all these things down as best we can.

Can we please just be concerned about our fellow humans for a change?